Uncle Bucks plans to move to old Club Liqwid

  • Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:39 a.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:53 a.m.
Uncle Bucks will be moving into this location on Main Street.
Uncle Bucks will be moving into this location on Main Street.

SALISBURY — Uncle Bucks All American Pub & Grub, a popular downtown restaurant, plans to move to the former Club Liqwid location this summer.

The change will double the seating capacity to roughly 155 and allow the restaurant to host live music, said Judy Howard, who owns Uncle Bucks with her husband, Scott.

Howard said she plans to move by August from 117 E. Innes St., where the restaurant has operated for five years, to 127 S. Main St. The restaurant will close for about a week during the transition.

She plans to have a DJ or band on Tuesdays, when as many as 135 motorcycle riders show up for Bike Night, as well as live music a couple other times a month.

“We’re not there to be a nightclub. We are a restaurant first,” she said. “But it will allow us to have more entertainment.”

Club Liqwid closed three years ago after numerous fights, broken windows and other violence. Police repeatedly were called to the location.

Nearby downtown business owners complained about trash and worse on the sidewalks the morning after a big crowd at Club Liqwid, which opened in 2002 as Club Zidis.

Howard said Uncle Bucks will not tolerate rough crowds and plans to attract the same customers the business has now.

“We will run it like we did here,” she said. “We didn’t put up with junk here, and we will not put up with it there.”

Once Uncle Bucks opens, 127 S. Main St. will become a restaurant rather than a bar, Howard said. The Howards and David Oestreicher, who owns the building, are splitting the cost of installing a commercial kitchen, she said.

A New Orleans lawyer, Oestreicher is past president of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Inc. Howard said he will connect the restaurant with bands he’s familiar with through the festival.

Hours at the new location are not set yet, but Howard said they plan to be open seven days a week and may stay open on Friday and Saturday until 1 or 2 a.m.

While there are four apartments above Uncle Bucks’ current location, no one lives above the former Club Liqwid.

The restaurant’s departure will leave four storefronts in the 100 block of East Innes Street vacant, including a former scrapbooking store and gift shop. Owner Michael Young said he has several inquiries a week on the properties.

Young would not discuss Uncle Bucks’ departure other than to say he wishes the Howards “the very best in all of their future endeavors.”

Many restaurant prospects are interested in the former retail/office space next door to Uncle Bucks as additional seating and private dining room space, Young said.

“The ideal suitor for the restaurant will be compatible with the upscale multi-tenant nature of the buildings,” he said.

Prospects are required to have a business plan or ongoing venture before Young will show the space, he said. The property manager is Ed McAfee with Locus Real Estate.

Young renovated 107 and 109 E. Innes St. — formerly Peanut Doodles and This & That — in 1999 and updated the historic building in 2010.

There are two upscale apartments on the second floor, both occupied.

The Uncle Bucks space at 115 and 117 E. Innes St. is about 2,500 square feet with two occupied apartments upstairs. Young renovated the building in 2006 and 2008.

“Finding a business just like the one you lost is not always a good strategy,” Young said. “Vacancy is an opportunity to recruit the highest and best use for the location.”

The new Uncle Bucks will feature a permanent stage, so staff will no longer have to move tables to accommodate bands, Howard said. The business likely will hire 10 to 15 additional employees.

The menu will remain largely the same, with a few new items concocted by Scott Howard, also known as Uncle Buck.

Bands from Arizona, New York, Oregon and North Carolina that have played at Uncle Bucks before have inquired about booking gigs at the new venue, Howard said.

Uncle Bucks will feature a variety of music from classic rock to what Howard dubs “swampy rock,” as well as bluegrass and country, although she said the restaurant will not compete with new country nightclub Nashville Nights.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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